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Boehner 33, Biden 8, Washington 6, Us 6, Hawaii 5, Cymbalta 4, Clinton 4, Inouye 4, U.s. 4, Kay Bailey Hutchison 4, John Kerry 4, Medicare 3, Steny Hoyer 3, John Boehner 3, Obama 3, Grover Norquist 3, America 3, Chuck 3, Benghazi 3, Nra 2,
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  MSNBC    The Daily Rundown    News/Business. The day's  
   top political stories. New.  

    December 20, 2012
    6:00 - 7:00am PST  

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>> i learned dee dee's daughter may be a future reaganite. >> i worry about it sometimes. >> i'm concerned to have a republican among my batch. i'm serious. one of my daughters, selfish, loves money. what your going to do? if it's way too early, it's "morning joe." time for chuck todd and "the daily rundown." the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep. and you never count your money when you're sitting at the table. there will be time enough for counting when the voting is done. that's what today could be about on capitol hill. president obama calls gun control a central issue for his second term. as his administration starts a national conversation about guns. the leader of the national rifle association gets ready to break what's been mostly silence from the country's most vocal pro-gun group. right now a senate hearing digging in to what happened before, during and after
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september 11th's deadly attack in benghazi, libya. john kerry leads the look into what went wrong. we'll have the latest in just minutes. good morning from a very busy washington. it's thursday, december 20th, 2012. this is "the daily rundown," the second shortest day of the year. let's get right to my first read. if talks on the fiscal cliff are going to be rescued, they have got to be rescued today. but the more you see the president and speaker boehner talking in public, the less they are talking behind the scenes. leaving negotiations stalled just 12 days before the new year. the speaker is now spending his third day working to pass a bill that will not become law. maybe it will start a framework for a backup plan but it's not going to be a law. and it won't probably be part of any final budget deal. the house will vote today on boehner's plan b which democratic leader harry reid had said will go nowhere in the senate. and the president has promised to veto it if it somehow got to
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him. in a 52-second, well it was a press conference but he didn't take questions so we'll call it a media availability, boehner dared the president to reject the backup plan that prevents tax hikes on those making less than $1 million. >> the president will have a decision to make. he can call on senate democrats to pass that bill or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in american history. >> and though boehner intended to put a bill on the floor that only dealt with the tax issue, republican leaders had to change course yesterday after they discovered they did not have the votes for a stand alone bill. now republicans will also vote to replace automatic defense cuts, half of the so-called sequester, with domestic spending cuts. and then cut an additional $200 billion over ten years. without that sweetener, boehner was in danger of losing some of his spending hawks if you will. and other republican members with military ties in their
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sdribts. boehner is now still wrangling to get some hard core conservative votes. after grover norquist's group gave boehner cover by saying his plan b does not violate its taxpay procedutax d taxpayer protection pledge. they say the club will score how members vote on this. heritage action called plan b a, quote, clear path towards surrender on conservative principles and announced they, too, will make -- will score the vote calling it a key vote on their legislative scorecard. the groups trekked down the hill to try to pressure republican leader sthop simply pull the bill. >> the american people did not re-elect the conservative house of representatives to become tax collectors for barack obama's welfare state. >> we supported challengers who were opposed to t.a.r.p., who were opposed to the debt deal 2011 and this is the sort of vote that we'll look at closely when we look at our options in
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2014. >> a whole lot of members who thought they were safe and who thought they could get away with this will lose in their own districts. >> boehner can lose about 20 votes and still get his bill passed. some members say leaders are frantically whipping, telling members this vote will inoculate them in the future against political attacks. louisiana congressman john flemming who told roll call he does not support the bill said, i think there's sort of an intuitive feeling on our side, and i don't necessarily agree with it, that we just want to mitigate as much damage as possible. the idea is when the american people start blaming us, we can point to some legislation and say this is what they asked for. we gave them what they asked for and they still refused. exasperated and frustrated, the president told republicans, take his deal. >> they keep on finding ways to say no as opposed to finding ways to say yes.
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and i don't know how much of that just has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say yes to me. but, you know, at some point, they've got to take me out of it. this is not a situation where i'm trying to rub their face in anything. i think anybody who looks at this objectively would say that coming off my election, i have met them at least halfway. >> the president said yesterday he and boehner are only a few billion dollars apart. a couple hundred billion. asking republicans if they really want to put the economy at risk because they can't bridge that gap. and he even used the newtown massacre as a political wedge if you will, when questioned about the stalled talks. >> and when you think about what we've gone through over the last couple of months, a devastating
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hurricane, and now one of the worst tragedies in our memory, the country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good. >> back in 2011, both sides were able to blame each other for the failure to achieve a quote/unquote grand bargain. yet history is repeating itself. the white house believes boehner is walking away. t they are accusing the white house of not reopening talks. they say they are waiting for a phone call. the big reason boehner walked away to folk auns plan b, we're told and white house -- was the white house's refusal to lower a revenue target number from $1.2 trillion. supposedly if the white house got closer to $1 trillion, even $1.1 trillion and included one to one spending cuts before counting interest, that boehner would sign off on that deal. folks, if we're really this close and not that far away, then it does seem silly that they can't bridge this gap.
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still one has to be realistic. put yourself in boehner's shoes. and ask just what is the political upside for him to cut a deal? it's actually not that evident, and that may explain why we're at the situation that we're in. last night the president told diplomats from around the world that he hopes the honor to honor the memory of the victims of the connecticut shooting by living up to their memories. >> this obviously continues to be a very difficult week here in america. we're still grieving and reeling from unspeakable violence that took place in newtown. >> as newtown buries five more victims today, the president is pledging action to prevent this kind of massacre from ever happening again. assigning vice president biden to lead a new task force on gun violence. >> but the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. this is not some washington
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commission. this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. >> biden will work with the cabinet, congress and outside groups to come up with a specific set of policies in time for the state of the union address next month. today, biden meets with law enforcement leaders from around the country. among the possibilities that the president has already floated for the task force, reinstating the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. banning high capacity clips or magazines which can hold dozens of bullets and closing the so-called gun show loophole which allows private gun sales without a background check. getting a permanent director confirmed at the alcohol tobacco and firearms, that's the nation's primary gun law enforcer. it's not had a director confirmed in 66 years. it's actually never had a confirmed director. the senate changed the law and nra lobbied to force the atf to
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become a senate confirmation, therefore guaranteeing it could never really be confirmed. nra has successfully been able to block that. it's always had acting directors. also the president called for a way to make it easier to access mental health services. and then, of course, you did talk about changing the country's culture when it comes to violence. but -- and by being so specific and calling out congress on the atf which the gun lobby has made every effort to weaken, the president steamed to suggest he was ready for a political fight. even his selection of vice president biden who himself shepherded the original assault weapons ban through the senate judiciary committee nearly two decades ago is significant. remember this exchange between biden and a gun rights advocate at a 2007 presidential primary debate. >> myself and other americans really want to know if our babies are safe. this is my baby. purchased in the 1994 gun ban.
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>> senator biden, are you going to be able to keep his babies safe? >> if that's his baby, he needs help. >> yesterday the president took pains to answer critics who argue his effort will look like slow walking commissions of the past. >> we're going to reach out to a bunch of stakeholders. we're going to be reaching out to members of congress who have an interest in this issue. i would hope that our memories aren't so short that what we saw in newtown isn't lingering with us, that we don't remain passionate about it only a month later. >> but when the president appeared to be given the opportunity to even invite the nra to be one of those stakeholders, to make them part of this biden conversation, it was striking that he didn't do it. >> the nra is an organization that has members who are mothers
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and fathers. and i would expect that they've been impacted by this as well. and hopefully they'll do some self-reflection. >> last night, the host of an nra news web cast which has continued to broadcast while the group has stayed mostly silent after the newtown tragedy, responded to the president's press conference. >> when you look at the president, he mentioned, he's going to tackle this on all fronts. but the majority of his press conference today was about guns. you can ban whatever you want. he'll find something else to get. if he can't get his hands on that, he'll find something else. >> tomorrow the nra will hold a news conference in the washington, d.c., area. and on sunday, "meet the press" will have an exclusive interview with the nra's ceo wayne lapierre. it's the only interview he'll be doing after friday's press conference. developing now, the first two of hearings on the benghazi attack now under way in the senate. began an hour ago. this is the hearing secretary clinton was supposed to attend. she has been home recovering
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from the flu and a concussion. and she is being replaced by her deputy secretaries of state bill burns and tom nides. the hearing comes less than 48 hours after the release of a report that blamed the state department for systemic failures leading up to the attacks that killed four americans, including ambassador stevens. >> the board found that the security posture at the special mission compound was inadequate for the threat environment in benghazi and, in fact, grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place that night. >> immediately after the report came out, the state department's head of diplomatic security, eric boswell and head of the embassy security charlene lamb resigned. the state department official who oversaw libya also resigned, along with another unnamed official. today, republicans will try to dig deeper into the breakdowns that preceded the attack. here's the ranking republican on the foreign relations committee. retiring senator dick lugar speaking just a short while ago.
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>> many questions have been raised about this tragedy, including whether we had sufficient intelligence ahead of time and whether there was a breakdown in security protocols. >> the other person to watch at today's hearing is john kerry. he's currently chairman of the foreign relations committee. he's also the man expected to be the next secretary of state. this morning, he praised secretary clinton for embracing the review board's recommendations to ivprove security overseas but also said his colleagues on capitol hill must bear some responsibility for what happened. >> i want to be crystal clear about something else. congress also bears some responsibility here. congress has the power of the purse. adequately funding america's foreign policy objectives is not spending. it's investing. >> joining me now, nbc's capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell. kelly, of course, senator kerry, perhaps secretary of state to be john kerry, is talking about the
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fact that the state department usually does bear the brunt of spending cuts when these negotiations happen to try to cut spending when budget hits. and that's what some in the state department had blamed for the quote having to pick and choose and prioritize security at diplomatic posts. >> i think people are looking at it differently now because as you point out, often those budget battles tend to direct more money toward the department of defense. and people don't look at the state department security, at least up until this event, as having the same sort of u.s. protection component. so it has not gotten the same attention that some certainly democrats are pushing. also today, though, we're hearing from republicans frustration directed at those two deputy secretaries of state for why have they not specifically asked for more resources when they had sufficient warning of some earlier, smaller attacks and some intelligence gathering. now there was an acknowledgment from tom nides that they had
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gotten some intelligence through the libyan sources they have, but they did not directly understand that it was intelligence suggesting a threat against the united states. meaning the mission there as opposed to more generalized terror activity. so there will be that kind of detail that will come out that will help to flesh out this picture. a lot of frustration certainly about what has happened and when you talk about a systemic failure, that means there will be fingerprints in many places, including congress and how it provides for resources and then the management at the state department, especially those people who were closest to the decision-making when requests for additional security had been coming in, even from ambassador stevens himself. there's a lot of emotion in this. there's also a lot of question about secretary clinton. we're told she will appear in january, unable to appear now due to illness, but she's going to testify, they say. >> who chairs that committee? you know, look. i know it's a little confusing.
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senator kerry, when he gets officially nominated, that is still unclear. it could -- the fiscal talks essentially sort of stalled all of that. who will be next if -- does he end up recusing himself? >> well, it's an interesting question. i have posed that question and people have said we aren't quite sure exactly how that will all work. in part, because of the timing. if secretary clinton were to have appeared now it would be very easy. beyond this week, and if there is that expected announcement of the potential nomination of john kerry it may change. he may feel compelled to recuse himself, and the dynamics there will be interesting. that will be something to watch for sure. and you get the sense today that kerry is very mindful of what his future may be as he's chairg this and the way he's describing his concerns and so you can sort of see the future. >> interesting. kelly o'donnell, busy, busy day at the end of this session on capitol hill. thank you. well, of course, we're going
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to keep our eyes on the senate foreign relations committee hearing. we'll bring you any developments as they happen. we're focusing on the cliff, folks. as a cliff compromise seems to be getting farther away, the frustration is now boiling over on capitol hill. congressman steny hoyer, number to democrat in the house, has some harsh words for his colleagues. he joins me next. first a look ahead at the president's schedule. an empty schedule today. but, boy, a lot of things he could end up doing today. keep an eye on this. don't be surprised at some point if the speaker and the president physically see each other today. you're watching "the daily rundown" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] imagine facing the day
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speaker boehner has spent a lot of time over the past few days trying to rally republican support for his plan b.
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at the same time, democratic leaders have been trying to make sure he gets absolutely no support from their side. a few minutes ago, i spoke to minority whip steny hoyer to get his perspective on the boehner vote today. >> congressman hoyer, good morning. >> good morning, chuck. >> let me start with what we're going to see on the floor today. speaker boehner's backup plan. what is wrong with it today? >> we have a serious fiscal problem confronting the country. we need to be real. we need to have a balanced program. a million dollars is not a balanced program. everybody knows that. the math -- >> i don't think they are saying it's balanced but this is as a backup plan. what's wrong with it as a backup plan? >> i don't think it's the backup plan. the backup plan was the plan b, which is what you are talking about, the million dollars. but also, the republicans were going to put forward the $250,000 that that would be voted on by the house as well. clearly, the republicans know
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that what they are doing today is simply a waste of time. this is not -- this is the lamest of congresss. it's a broken congress. it's a congress that refuses to compromise. it's a congress frankly that won't follow its leadership. john boehner had a plan. speaker boehner had a plan. that was on monday. everybody was talking about that plan. we were planning to vote on that today. he could not get the votes. in order to be an effective lead eyou have to have followers. the speaker doesn't have followers. so what we're doing today is wasting time pretending, making political points but not moving the ball forward to get a -- to a compromise that will be necessary if we're going to avoid the sequester that nobody wants, not go over the cliff and take very positive steps toward getting this country on a fiscally -- >> you are a big vote counter. does he have the votes now for
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what he has done with all the changes he's made? has that made -- given him now the votes, do you think? >> my presumption is that's why he's made the changes because the most radical members of his caucus would not go for anything less. and he's got all of his interest groups still demanding that they shouldn't even pass the million dollar plan so that unfortunately speaker boehner who i think wants to lead. i think he wants to get to a compromise, but his members won't back him up. and i think that's sad for america. it's sad for the congress. and it's not moving the ball forward. and we've been wasting time, frankly, these last four weeks have been the least productive weeks that i've spent in the congress over the last 31 years. it's a shame for the country and it's a shame for -- i personally believe as you know, chuck, that speaker boehner wants to lead. speaker boehner wants to get to a compromise that can be supported by a majority of the house. that will require democrats and
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republicans. we know a lot of republicans won't back it and some democrats won't back it. we can get there, chuck if the speaker were willing to move ahead on a plan that could get 120, 130 of his members and 100 of ours. >> speaking of democrats, how many democrats are going to vote for speaker boehner's plan today? >> not many. >> not many means not zero. it is not unanimous among the democratic caucus? >> you know, we were unanimous on a number of these votes. we'll see. but not many. >> many is that less than five is what you are trying to say? is it the usual five is it the usual sort of four or five you are worried about? >> chuck, i'm saying what i said. i'm not going to -- >> all right. >> count on tv. >> fair enough. now let me ask you about the president's counterproposal, one of the things that i think we all thought we were going to see more counters. and it was clear the president was willing to do a couple of things. move up the threshold on tax rates. he's up to 400.
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sounds like he's at least willing to go to 500 if you read between the lines yesterday. and then the changes in how you'd calculate social security payments. how many democrats do you think you'd lose on a plan like that? >> both leader pelosi and i have said we're going to work to pass a plan to avoid the sequester, put ourselves on a fiscally sustainable path. if the president puts forward a plan that he can get agreement with speaker boehner on. we've said we're going to work to get that passed. >> will you get a majority of democrats, house democrats to support whatever president obama agrees to? >> well, i don't want to say whatever president obama agrees to. but my presumption is, i think leader pelosi's presumption is the same that the president will not get to a deal that is not acceptable to a majority of us on the democratic side in the house. it won't be the deal that we would like perhaps. it won't have everything.
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it will have some things in there we won't like. and it will have some things in there the republicans won't like. but if we're going to be a functional congress, if we're going to serve the american people well, we're going to have to come to grips with compromises to get to where we need to be. and it's clear that speaker boehner, at this point in time, does not have the votes in his conference to do that. and that's a shame. i call it a plan f. this is today. this is failure. >> okay. very quickly, to -- >> it's a shame for the american people. >> very quickly on guns. >> yes. >> do you think an assault weapons ban could actually pass the congress in 20 -- the republican-controlled house in 2013. >> i would certainly hope so. i'm for that. i think the overwhelming majority of american people don't see any necessity to protect themselves to have an assault weapon or large capacity magazines. >> you think that's a doable -- you think that's doable? >> i think it is doable.
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i hope it's doable. i am hopeful that -- i'm co-sponsoring legislation toward that end. >> yeah. >> and i'm hopeful because i think that's what the american people think is a reasonable step to take. it's not a perfect step. it won't get us to where we need to be to decrease the violence, decrease the risk to our children that we have seen so dramatically and tragically recently and over the years. but it is certainly a rational, reasonable, common sense step to take. >> steny hoyer, house democratic whip, maryland democrat, thanks for coming on this morning. >> thanks, chuck. next, a ground-breaking new role for a democratic woman in the senate. plus, as lawmakers prepare to honor the late senator daniel inouye, moving words from the democrat about his preference for a successor as you see there. that is -- you are watching live pictures as senator inouye's body is being brought into the capitol. as we go, today's trivia question. since 1900, only one person has
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served as chairman of the foreign relations committee more than twice. who is it? tweet me the answer @chuckto answer @chucktodd @dailyrundown.
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on our radar this morning, an historic appointment on capitol hill and more details on what senator inouye called his last wish. let's start with maryland senator barbara mccullsky. she'll become the first woman to chair the senate appropriations committee. it was left vacant following the death of daniel inouye. senator mikulski is the longest serving female senator and the longest serving woman in the history of congress. first elected in 1986 after serving ten years in the house of representatives. until now, she was the most senior democrat to have never chaired a full standing committee in the senate. yesterday we reported that
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patrick leahy was likely to move to appropriations and then you'd have feinstein going to judiciary. mikulski still wasn't going to have a committee. this has now been rearranged. december 28th will be the day the democratic party of hawaii decides who will fill their senate seat. but this morning we have more details on what the late senator himself wanted to see happen. in a just-released tlee ed lett hawaii's governor, inouye wrote, i respectfully request that u.s. representative colleen hanabusa succeed me and continue the work together with mazie on behalf of hawaii in the u.s. senate. i have no doubt that she will represent hawaii with the same fervor and commitment that i brought to the senate chamber since 1962. i hope you will grant me my last wish. he will lie in state in the capitol rotunda today. we're expecting his remains to arrive any minute now right there on the capitol. we'll bring that to you live later this hour. - more washington gridlock.
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no, it's worse -- look, our taxes are about to go up. not the taxes on our dividends though, right? that's a big part of our retirement. oh, no, it's dividends, too. the rate on our dividends would more than double. but we depend on our dividends to help pay our bills. we worked hard to save. well, the president and congress have got to work together to stop this dividend tax hike. before it's too late.
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the rancor over the fiscal cliff negotiations may make it seem like the two parties don't get along. the capitol hill isn't always consumed by political bickering. that's a point senator kay bailey hutchison made to her farewell speech to the senate just yesterday. >> while we may disagree politically and air our opposition in this chamber it is the conversation behind the scenes that cements and defines our relationships. i will leave the senate knowing i have worked with men and women of great patriotism, intellect and heart from both sides of the aisle. >> joining me now is the retiring senior senator from texas, republican kay bailey hutchison. senator, i have to say, i think that you are only speaking for the united states senate today. that may be true. i don't feel like i see that in the white house or the house right now. that there really does seem to be more of a hardening there.
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is that what you see? >> well, i do see the posturing certainly, which i think, chuck, you kind of expect in a negotiation. you set your standards here. but your point is right. in the house it's not quite the same as the senate because in the senate there's more freedom. your enemy today is the friend tomorrow. and so you don't make real enemies. but on the house side, because the minority has so few rights, there is kind of a different mentality over there which makes it hard and people do get harder positions, i think, there because of that. >> all right. let's talk about what's going on. i know there's a lot of you and other senators are frustrated. you are watching what's going on in the house. what's going nonthe white house and thinking, the senate at some point has to also deal with a plan b if nothing else happens. what is the most realistic plan b option that gets passed in the
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senate, do you believe? >> well, i don't think the senate democrats are going to pass what the house is working to pass right now. i think this is a preliminary, you know, staking of claims. and i don't think that what the house is going to pass will get through the senate democratic majority. so i think you're going to hopefully, i mean, all of us are hoping that speaker boehner and president obama are talking more behind the scenes than we know. and beginning to come together. i think the president has moved some, and i think speaker boehner has moved some. and i think it's pretty hopeful that they are going to keep moving toward a position. but remember that speaker boehner has the harder job because president obama can make a decision. speaker boehner has to make a decision that is going to go through 435-member congress.
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and -- >> if you split -- i'm just curious. if you split the difference. interesting what you said about president obama. you believe they both moved. they both have on a couple of significant points. raising taxes for boehner, throwing social security in. and their bases are not happy about it. if we literally took their plans and split it down the middle, could you envision yourself, and i know you can say there's details, but could you envision yourself supporting something like that about a trillion, $1.1 trillion in spending, in tax hikes, coupled with $1.1 trillion in spending cuts in some variation of that? >> i think if there is a balance of spending cuts that is in the same range as a tax issue that is on the higher level, higher than $200,000 for sure. i'd like to see it higher than $400,000 because i do think that we have a real tough time -- >> you could see like -- i know
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we're negotiating here and it's useless because they are doing it, but -- in between, you could be comfortable somewhere there, right? >> i think there is a place between 400 and a million that had spending cuts so that you see that there is a plan going forward that is going to really address the debt and entitlements. entitlements has always been the key because that's what you know can make a difference and also save the social security system. i thought nancy pelosi's statement that chain cpi would strengthen social security was very positive and it's true. i think we are coming together more than might appear from the hardened rhetoric. >> i hope you're right. >> i think there's a way forward. i do. >> let me ask you a quick question on guns. do you envision that congress could ever pass the form of the
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assault weapons ban that was in place right when you got to the senate and then expired? >> i think that there is going to be a serious discussion of what is needed for people to own guns to be able to protect themselves and have hunting rights, and i think violence on tv and video games has to be a part of that. and i think there is a consensus on that. jay rockefeller and i have put in a bill already just to start that being a part of this discussion because i have an 11-year-old and he loves those games and i am very concerned about it. wait a minute. is this really what we want our young people to have as a focus, especially, you know, our younger kids? >> do you think the -- you think there could be -- and you do think there could be some restrictions on military-style weapons? >> i think that people are ready to say we want our sportsmen, we
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want our protection in rural areas to be sufficient, but what is sufficient? i think that's the question that people are now saying is a real question. and let's have some responsible talk about this? >> all right, senator kay bailey hutchison, retiring senator, you are very optimistic this morning. hopefully a whole bunch of people share that optimism. our gaggle will be here next. and this sunday on nbc's "meet the press," an interview with the nra's executive vice president and ceo and face of the nra, wayne lapierre. his first interview since the newtown tragedy and the only interview he'll be giving after tomorrow's press conference. first, the white house soup of the day, white chicken chili. check out our website, rundown@nbc.com.
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well, the negotiations on the so-called fiscal cliff seem to have stalled. speaker boehner beginning the start of third day to rangel his conference to get behind plan b. let's bring in our thursday gaggle. my colleague, mike and jennifer. vick, let me start with you. you are mr., this is the way congress works, blah, blah, blah. >> mr. pessimist. >> also in an oddly optimistic way. this is what happens. i hear all of this and kay bailey hutchison was trying to say the same thing. >> you think? >> i think it is worse than it looks. >> they are doing what they always do. first of all, i'm on the record. i say january 11th. >> you did. >> and that was more than a
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month ago. >> that's a friday. i'm going to go with january 10th. the speaker is doing what he's -- what republicans and democrats when they run the house do what they always do. it's just a little late in the game for this. they are trying to let some steam out of their caucus or conference. >> it's a little late in the game for this because it's partly a negotiating ploy with the white house. as you -- as you pointed out before. to demonstrate to them there's very little give and the white house is going to come closer to their position. i'm not sure the squeeze is worth the juice. >> jennifer, let me go to you. i've had some economic conservative activist groups sit there and say they are appalled the speaker is using what he argues is democratic talking points to say it's a $4 trillion tax cut that they are going at and i say if you want to use that math and use speaker boehner's math, then the president is proposing a $3 trillion tax cut. >> those guys don't have to get votes to pass any bills. i don't know how important they are. >> spin it as a tax cut, it's -- >> listen. they got some help yesterday.
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boehner got some help yesterday. paul ryan came out in favor of his so-called plan b putting him on the florida terms of raising tax groups for some group of americans, and grover norquist, head of the atr, also came out in favor of the plan saying it didn't violate the pledge they took. look, i think two things are going on. one, i think there is a very loud group, mostly of outside groups, conservatives, who are appalled at anything. they make money on no deals. they -- that's how they bolster their -- a racket. i think boehner is in a much better position than in 2011. i think he's got, really, the vast majority of his conference. and the question is, really, what are the senate democrats going to pass? they haven't passed anything? >> n thatand, karen, that's wha all the senates, republicans and democrats. they are going, what is boehner sghoog and democrats going, why can't the white house just invite boehner. senators are being senators. they get this thing.
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if you are the white house now, on one hand you believe you'll win a public opinion battle if it all falls apart. >> because you already are. >> however, we need a deal. how far do you go to do this? it seems like the president was saying, please, please come back. i want to do a deal. >> i think the reality is, it's boehner. he can't get a deal. look at the position he's in today with his own plan b, the irony of republicans supporting plan b aside, you know, i have to say that. but, you know, he -- he doesn't even know if he has the votes to get his own plan. sure, maybe paul ryan came on board and grover norquist shockingly decides it's okay. you'll not violate my pledge. i'm still in power. >> i think he has the votes and knows he has the votes. >> after he changed it. he had to change a whole bunch of stuff to get it. >> the problem is, again, weeks and weeks and weeks of republicans trying to make their case and what's happening? they are going down in the polls. confidence is going down in the polls and the president is going up in the polls.
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>> i want to talk about, at the end of the day, what's the political benefit here for john boehner to make a deal? if i put myself in his shoes, i do not see any gain for him and house republicans. >> i hate to get all di dadacti here. it's not up to john boehner. he's not going to ram something through without the support of the base of his party as represented by the people who come from red, red districts. that's just the fact of life. when they stopped arguing about principle and started talking about numbers last weekend, that was the burst of optimism. >> right. >> the problem is some people hadn't finished arguing about principle yet. >> but you have some democrats on the outside more comfortage comfortable with going over the cliff. >> strengthening -- >> $250,000. >> now that the president moved it up to 400. >> and he probably needs it to be at seven. >> stick around. we're going to take a break. since 1900, only one person has
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served as chairman of the foreign relations committee more than twice. the answer was joe biden. then-senator biden was chair for 17 days when the senate was split 50/50. then he became the committee's chair in 2001 when jim jeffords of vermont switched party. he held the post for a third and final time during the 110th congress. so there you go. arcane trivia. that might be a little-known fact. this is live pictures. this is senator inouye's body arriving. a decorated medal of honor recipient. heel lie in state at the capital rotunda today. congressional leaders will make remarks at a service in just a few minutes and tomorrow night a public memorial at the national cathedral and he'll be laid to rest in hawaii over the weekend.
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i'd like to thank eating right, whole grain, multigrain cheerios! mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't.
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let's bring back the gaggle. mike viqueira and jennifer ruben. one of the pieces of conventional wisdom always circulated in washington is the good old days of washington ended with the robert bork confirmation hearings and republicans say ted kennedy started it and republicans said no, it started with newt gingrich or that period -- or it started with jim wright, and what do you say? conventional wisdom because we all lived for it? >> you can look at scalia and you can point to that and say 98-0, and bipartisan support was the largest sweep of u.s. history as we all learned, is an anomaly. it all happened during the cold war from the depression to the end of the cold war with was the heyday. >> do you buy that it started
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with bork. >> "lincoln" the film proves there's been dirty politics for quite some time. >> and it can be nasty. >> a little bit. a little bit. >> and alexander hamilton had something to say about it. >> yeah. >> you had a point on judges. >> it changed this whole industry of people who research and run ads. >> do you think it's neutered our picks now that both -- whoever is in the white house look for it. >> they look for blank slates. >> they're just, like, pure and whoever doesn't say anything. >> whoever has never said anything ever. >> shameless plug. jennifer, you first. >> great book out "saturday people, sunday people" about jews and christians living in the middle east. really good for the holidays. >> flax for flax who wear flak jackets. >> it's the second annual. troops need you.com and donate and help our fellow flacks. >> i would like to go extra
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shameless and i love this tie, i'm plugging this tie because my mother gave it to me. it's my favorite tie. >> thanks for joining us on "the daily rundown." we'll see you back here tomorrow and let's hope some progress on a deal, right? we all want to go home. coming up next "chris jansing," bye-bye.
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